Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smoked Salmon Benedictless

Few things make me happier than the blissful combination of smoked salmon and poached egg.

I feel obliged to note that these lack Hollandaise, because while I want to believe in principle that there is some context in which I would appreciate Hollaindaise sauce, I have not yet found it. Here, the molten egg yolk makes its own sauce, and blends perfectly and richly with the smoked salmon. Tomatoes can provide the slight tang that you'd usually get from lemon in the Hollaindaise, and the tastes end up balancing perfectly.

If you can't picture yourself poaching an egg without calamity striking, go here for a lovely and reassuring tutorial (I do mine slightly differently, but the basics are the same and she has great pictures).

Ingredients, per toast
1 pastured egg
1/2 english muffin or slice of good bread, lightly toasted
Olive oil
1-2 slices smoked salmon
A few leaves baby arugula or spinach (optional)
A few cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat 2-3 inches of water in a pan (a wide saute pan is best—it lets you lower the egg from just above the water). Meanwhile, break the first egg into a small dish.

As soon as little bubbles coat the inner surface of the pan (before the water starts to simmer—go here for a picture), make a gentle whirlpool in the water by stirring in a circle with a spoon or rubber spatula. Lower the egg dish above the water and slide the egg into the center of the whirlpool. Adjust the heat down a bit to maintain the water at just below a simmer, and let the egg cook for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes (you can very gently prod it away from the bottom of the pan with your spatula if it starts to stick after the first 30 seconds or so).

Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and let drain. Repeat with additional eggs as desired.

Meanwhile, toast the bread, then cut each slice into bite-sized squares while keeping the overall shape of the slice (this gives the lovely illusion of a bread slice without the annoyance of sawing your way through a piece of toast for every bite). Top with a layer of smoked salmon, a few greens and/or tomatoes if desired, and then the egg. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve hot.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fried Chickpeas

Protein in a pinch. These are fast, and easy, delectable, and the perfect way to satisfy a wayward fried street food craving without any of that post-fried-street-food guilt.

You can make this without measuring anything, but I've put suggested measurements in parentheses for those of you with a penchant for teaspoons. You can toss the chickpeas in the flour and spices on a plate first, or (easier still) just add everything to the pan, tossing to coat, in the order listed.

Generous glug or two olive oil (1-2 tbsp)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed well and patted dry
2 generous sprinkles stone ground whole wheat flour (1 tsp)
1 generous sprinkle coarse-ground cornmeal (1/2 tsp)
6 dashes cumin (1/2 tsp)
3 dashes paprika (1/4 tsp)
Aleppo pepper to taste (1/4 tsp, or sub a pinch of cayenne)
Sprinkling of kosher salt (1/4 tsp)

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. When hot, add the chickpeas, then sprinkle in the rest of the ingredients, tossing to coat. Fry for 6-7 min until golden brown in places, shaking the pan from time to time.

Serve hot.

Serves 2-3 (but note that if you make them by yourself, you're unlikely to have any leftovers).